Publisher: Simon and Schuster Young Readers
Source: Personal Copy
When Taylor learns that her father has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and he doesn’t have long to live, she’s devastated. Each passing day on the calendar feels like a countdown to her father’s final days. She doesn’t know how to react around him; she’s not sure what to say to him. She’s always been close with her father, but she never really expresses her feelings to him, and now she feels like it might be awkward. While she can see her father deteriorating, he wants to keep some semblance of normal. Taylor’s parents decide that the family will spend the summer together at their old lake house, which stresses out Taylor even more. The last time she was at the lake house, she left behind a best friend and boyfriend. She’s not sure if she can face them again. Her reaction is to flee, her reaction is always to flee but this time there is no escaping. Taylor spends the summer making memories with her father, and coming to terms with his failing condition, leaning on her family and strengthening their bond.
I loved Second Chance Summer, and I would highly recommend it. While this book is considered young adult, I think it’s impossible not to relate to Taylor. Matson does an incredible job allowing readers to understand Taylor’s emotions, and her struggles. Yes, her father only has months to live but in the meantime life goes on. The family doesn’t just pause and remain stagnant. Her father encourages her to get a summer job, her sister is forced to learn tennis, and her brother spends all his time studying. Taylor’s family learns to live with each other and not constantly be thinking about the inevitable.
Taylor’s character is strong, independent, and vulnerable. Her life has forever changed, and it will continue to never be the same. She learns to value the time she does have with her father, and make memories while they still can. At the same time, she’s forced to face her ex- boyfriend and ex-best friend. It’s been years since she ran away, and lost contact with them. Small town life doesn’t give you a lot of opportunities to continue to ignore each other.
I haven’t read Morgan Matson’s debut book Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, but I certainly will now. Her writing is incredibly descriptive and atmospheric. I’m not a crier, and I cried. Readers who have a close relationship with their father, will easily put themselves in Taylor’s situation. Her family is an average, busy family and could be your own. I think Second Chance Summer is a great summer read, but can be read at any time. Once again, highly recommended! This will be one of my favorites of the year.